Documentary highlighting Valley fire department’s 100-year history now available to watch

Feb 14, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: 5:28 am

PHOENIX — A Valley fire department on Monday launched a documentary that invites viewers on a nostalgic journey, chronicling the evolution of its department from its humble beginnings to its current stature.

The 45-minute documentary, “Flash Point: The History of Peoria Fire-Medical Department,” includes stories from current Fire Chief Gary Bernard and eight retired firefighters, who shared memories from their experience during the rise of the department.

Throughout the video, the audience will hear about significant moments, including the origins of the volunteer program, changes in firefighting technology and mental health awareness.

The film also features an interview from the city’s last original volunteer fire chief, Jim Kosier.

“We knew we had to preserve this important story for our city and are grateful to Chief Kosier for sharing his memories in this documentary,” Peoria Fire-Medical Chief Gary Bernard said in a press release.

Peoria firefighters: A walk down memory lane

The film starts with a group of firefighters talking about Peoria’s early days as a small town. At the time of its inception, firefighters were volunteering their time and money. In time, as the population grew so did expectations from the community, pushing the department to expand.

“You didn’t do it for the money … you did it because you wanted to help the town,” retired Fire Chief Jim Kosier said in the documentary.

As years passed, paid firefighters, the inception of the department’s union and improvements to technology all contributed to making the department what it is now.

The documentary is available to watch on the city’s Facebook page and on Peoria Channel 11.

The video was produced by the city of Peoria’s Office of Communications.

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Documentary highlighting Valley fire department’s 100-year history now available to watch